Dry Eyes and Tear Dysfunction Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Dry Eyes and Tear Dysfunction Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

What causes dry eyes or tear dysfunction syndrome? Penn Medicine ophthalmologist and Penn Dry Eye & Ocular Surface Center co-director, Giacomina Massaro-Giordano, MD discusses here.

Tear dysfunction syndrome is a very common medical condition that over 20% of the American population has been diagnosed with. However, this condition is often times ignored or not properly diagnosed and treated which can negatively impact individuals’ quality of life.

Tears are made up of three main components: oil, water, and mucous. When an individual is missing any of these components, their eyes may become dry. Other causes of tear dysfunction syndrome include infections, inflammation of the eye especially around the eyelids (also known as Blepharitis) or cornea, Conjunctivochalasis or loosening of the conjunctive attachments of the eye, issues with the various glands that produce tears, evaporation of tears and more.

There are many ways to treat tear dysfunction syndrome including the use of artificial tear drops, stabilizing the oil, a change in environment, utilizing humidifiers, inserting punctual plugs, changing your diet, and using certain medications. Some individuals may also suffer from tear dysfunction syndrome due to another present medical condition that they can seek treatment for. Other treatment options include oral sustained release Pilocarpine which induces lacrimal gland secretion, the insertion of lacrisert pellets, a fitting for Boston Scleral Lenses which allow a tear-fluid interchange and prevent the intrusion of air, and intense pulsed light treatment.

Learn more about dry eyes diagnosis and treatment at Penn’s Scheie Eye Institute:

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